An unspoken tension is present between the national federations and the teams regarding the UCI Road World Championships. The rift between the duo is ongoing ever since a ban to travel to Australia was placed on Alejandro Valverde, our former world champion. This ban was highlighted on 3rd September 2022 with the news that Movistar needs Valverde to compete for points in the few races left of this season.
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Other teams are also following suit, such as Lotto Soudal. No rider from Lotto Soudal has been selected to represent the team. Similarly, Cofidis has decided to keep in all their players to fight the last battles to improve ranks.
Jumbo-Visma is doing all that it can to avoid Carlos Rodriguez being selected for the tour. While UAE Team Emirates is also not looking forward to sending Diego Ulissi to fight at the time trial, instead they want him to compete for more ranking points.
Even though it is the team that pays the player their salary for competing in the events, still there has been an ongoing argument between the UCI and national teams. Currently, their goals are not aligning which has led to this fight to avoid relegation.
The UCI Road World Championships come with significant points for those who are participating which are helpful to avoid relegation. But the priority for most teams is to fight for points in the one-day races for the remaining of the season rather than making a long tour to Australia.
Out of the 20 teams which are fighting for the WorldTour licenses that are just 18. From the bottom to the top, we have Israel-Premier Tech and Lotto Soudal. Both teams are more likely to be relegated from the top tier. Sitting above them are Movistar, BikeExchange-Jayco, EF Education-EasyPost. They are separated by just 105 points. This means that they will have to do all they can to collect maximum points until October 2022.
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Pascual Momparler (Spanish national coach) told the news that the Spanish Federation is looking at the option of not sending out any men to the Australian Championships. The flight duration, tour stay and the days required to fight off the jet lag are too much for most of them. Pascual said to the media:
They pay me to put together the best team, with the riders they deem appropriate, but this time it won’t be possible
He told that after a lot of consideration and going back and forth between the pros and cons, they finally made a decision:
We had a meeting on Friday to decide whether we would go to the World Championships or not and we finally decided that we will. Juan Ayuso and Marc Soler will be the leaders and we will try to form a team around them
The National Teams are required to select their players before September 13. September 18 will mark the start of the men’s time trial while the road race is scheduled for September 25. This is going to be an exciting event to look forward to. In the words of Pascual Momparler:
The UCI has put everyone between a rock and a hard place. It’s going to be an unusual World Championships
Featured Image Via YouTube/ Wollongong 2022